This is a post from Mandy Goodman as part of her Sacred Humanity gatherings.

As a kid, I remember walking into church on Sunday mornings, praying for answers or a sign. I remember sitting among the congregation and hearing things like, “If you feel out of control- like if you have a big test coming up- say a prayer. Give it away. Stop worrying.” I always wondered about the “big stuff” we weren’t talking about. What about when it’s more than worrying about a test? I left feeling like my questions weren’t being answered. I wondered if anybody else felt unseen.

As I got older, the questions became more complicated. How are we supposed to support people who can’t help their situations, people who can’t see a way out any time soon? What is being preached to them? Are we preaching to them at all? Are we listening to them and seeing them? What are we doing about people who have been hurt by the church? I thought about the subjects I hadn’t heard addressed- race, culture, gender, sexuality, disabilities, and mental health, among so many others.

I wondered why we didn’t have a space to talk about any of this in my church growing up. It’s not like the issues weren’t there. The more I learned, the more people I met, the more I wondered. I wondered what more I could do after the thoughts and prayers had been said. I felt defeated after receiving dismissive answers. I got the message that we were supposed to love and serve everyone, but we rarely discussed who everyone was, and how to best go about that.

When I came to CCW, I found a community that was built on values like personal growth, inclusion, and generous orthodoxy. This community encouraged asking questions. I found so much hope in that. I finally had the kind of space I wished everyone could have. Even still, I found myself talking to others who felt they didn’t have a specific place to talk about certain issues- a struggle I understood.

It’s time to talk about these issues, especially as they become more and more prevalent in our communities. We need to talk about the things that might be difficult, complex, underrepresented, or misunderstood. Things we might not hear about unless we’ve been through them personally, or until we meet someone who has.

These conversations are necessary because they ultimately affect all of us. We’re becoming young leaders, and with that comes the responsibility to understand, humanize, and uplift each other. If we start to do that now, we can better the conversations we have, the way we interact, and the way we approach both leadership and fellowship. We can start to build a better future.

We want to give people a space to start these discussions. We want to hear from our community and people with diverse experiences and viewpoints. We want to learn about our differences as well as our universal experiences. We want to hear your insight, your pain, your passion, your questions. We want to connect and to grow so that we can move forward in the best way possible.

Because we aren’t talking about issues for the issues’ sake. We’re talking about- and with- people. It’s about each other. It’s about our community, from our closest friends to our church, and to the world we all live in together.

This is why we’ve created Sacred Humanity- a series of small groups that we want to use as a tool to help our community have constructive conversations around the topics we need to address in order to keep moving forward.

This semester, we’ll have two gatherings centered around discussion of femininity and masculinity, and how they affect all of us. Our first gathering will be at DubPal on March 29th at 6:30, followed by a gathering on April 12th at FortDub.

We hope you’ll join us in creating conversations that help us keep humanity sacred.

March 5, 2019